Disruptive IT Learning Culture as the New Data Driven Workforce Norm

By: Babette Ten Haken | - Leave a comment

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A disruptive IT learning culture listens and looks for trends, advances and anomalies which influence IIoT (industrial Internet of Things) digital workplace output. However, observing and recording data is insufficient to enough to grow, expand and sustain organizations.

After all, serving customers is not a spectator sport for any organization.

First, the disruptive IT learning culture translates multiple implications of these data trends. Then, they connect the dots between data trends, analytics insights and operational as well as line of business value. Finally, the new model for an IT learning culture communicates insights throughout the enterprise.

As a result, IT becomes an organizational learning hub instead of a siloed data-hoarder. They assume the role of data-whisperer throughout an organization’s culture.

A futuristic idea? The future of the disruptive IT learning culture has already begun. Yesterday.

A new partnership for IT: collaborating with Human Resources and Learning and Development to co-create a data-driven workforce learning culture.

The novel function of a disruptive IT learning culture is particularly important as business models embrace data-driven decision-making as the norm. As business models change, so do IT models. Consequently, IT and tech workforce hiring models also must evolve to catalyze a more data-comfortable workforce.

The concept of a disruptive IT learning culture questions legacy learning, development and training models. These models, often the purview of the HR function, standardize the delivery of learning, often via virtual modules or traditional on-site classroom settings.

The stability, consistency and reproducibility of these standardized, legacy learning programs provide consistent and measurable metrics, in terms of employee participation, completion and certification. However, the real question becomes whether these standardized learning programs keep pace with not only technology but also analytic advances. Of equal importance is rate and quality of knowledge acquisition within industrial Internet of Things environments.

Especially in smart manufacturing environments, the best learning cultures reinforce how employees need to work moving forward. The future of work is collaborative, cross-functional, multi-disciplinary and innovative.

The 2017 Deloitte Human Capital Trends study, “Rewriting the rules for the digital age,” includes business cases supporting the paradigm shift away from traditional, linear learning models and professional advancement (pp 32-41).

In my first post in this series, I extrapolated study findings in terms of implications for creating an IT learning culture.

Whether you call a non-linear, moveable workforce feat “convergence” (as Deloitte describes it) or multidisciplinary collaboration (as I, and  as many scientific and engineering environments, do), desired outcomes are the same.  By continuously cross-pollinating how people work with how people acquire and analyze data, a disruptive IT learning culture catalyzes how people think: innovatively. That outcome impacts customer experience, success, loyalty and retention.

“There is also a new focus on convergence—bringing together disciplines such as sales, marketing, de­sign, finance, and IT onto cross-functional teams to build products and solutions faster. Forward-think­ing L&D [Learning & Development] departments are facilitating this growth in interdisciplinary thinking by viewing the corporate university as a commons instead of a training center.”  (p32)

The new norm: Hire for multidisciplinary problem-solving mindset and ability to continuously acquire knowledge and learn.

A data-driven workforce operating within a disruptive IT learning culture is liberated from functional silos. Instead, the resulting learning and collaboration environment takes a page out of entrepreneurship.

Of the many startups I’ve worked with, one of the most interesting was a joint project between Harvard and MIT. The combination of technologists and researchers focused on visualization (literally) and portable medicine. The team included a professional conservatory-trained violist: a musician. Guess what role he served? He was the innovative coder and designer of the application interface. Why? Because he was used to reading orchestral scores featuring multiple instrumental voices functioning in and out of sync. He was exquisitely well-suited to separate single, important factors out of the data chaos and noise.

To understand where to get started building a disruptive IT learning culture, ask yourself these two questions.

  1. Is the innovative, multi-disciplinary coder described above, someone who “normally” would have been hired by your organization?
  2. Whom and what would you be looking for to identify this type of innovative team member?

At 2016 IoT Emerge, Terri Lewis, who leads the Technology and Solutions group for Energy and Transportation at Caterpillar, spoke about creating a disruptive workplace mindset. She felt that passion, willingness to learn and comfort with constant change – rather than a professional degree -are key characteristics when creating multidisciplinary, data-driven and innovative teams.

Consider your organization’s current hiring model.

  1. What role does IT play in creating the types of teams described above?
  2. Does the CIO work with both Human Resources and the Chief Learning Officer towards creating a disruptive IT learning culture?

The ability to translate and leverage insights from data becomes the common currency of the data driven workforce.

Ultimately creating a continuously disruptive IT learning culture impacts how organizations optimize to best serve clients. Ponder what needs to happen in your own organization, based on the two business cases and four questions, above.

For starters, an organization opts to poke holes in linear hiring and learning models. Then, they move away from Us versus Them legacy mindset which separates the workforce according to professional degrees and departmental functionality.

Finally, a data driven workforce is created by a multidisciplinary and collaborative learning environment that is continuously responsive to change.

Who better to sit at the multidisciplinary table than the Chief Information Officer, the Chief Learning Officer and Human Resources when creating a disruptive IT learning culture? Why not create an entire workforce of data whisperers continuously enabled to best serve your clients?

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About The Author

Babette Ten Haken

Founder & President, Sales Aerobics for Engineers®, LLC

Babette Ten Haken is a catalyst, corporate strategist and facilitator. She writes, speaks, consults and coaches about how cross-functional team collaboration revolutionizes the industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) value chain for customer loyalty, customer success and customer retention. Her One Millimeter Mindset™ programs draw from her background as a scientist, sales professional, enterprise-level facilitator, Six... Read More